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עמוד בית
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October 2023
Wakar Garra MD, Yair Levy MD

Nocardia species are gram-positive aerobic bacteria, usually acquired by inhalation or traumatic percutaneous inoculation [1,2]. It is a rare opportunistic infection that mainly occurs in immunocompromised hosts, patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), organ transplant recipients, and long-term corticosteroid treated patients [1,2]. It is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The increased use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors has been accompanied by increased risk of different opportunistic infections including reactivation of tuberculosis, viral hepatitis B and C, listeria, fungal and bacterial infections [3,4]. To date, there are scarce case reports regarding nocardial infection with anti-TNF, particularly during the first 6 months of treatment.

We present a case of nocardial tenosynovitis of the hand in a patient with psoriatic arthropathy who was followed in our rheumatology clinic in Meir medical center in Israel after treatment with an anti TNF therapy.

Rachel Shemesh MD, Tal Serlin MD, Moroz Iris MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai MD

Uveal melanoma (UM) affects approximately six individuals per million per year in the United States, with similar rates in Mediterranean countries. Although it appears to have a low prevalence, it is the most common primary intraocular malignancy in adults. Clinically, it presents in most patients as a painless loss or distortion of vision, although it may also be accidentally discovered at routine ophthalmic examination. Associated risk factors include fair skin tone, light eye color, presence of a choroidal nevus, oculodermal melanocytosis (nevus of ota), dysplastic nevus syndrome, and germline BRCA-associated protein 1 mutations (BAP1 mutations) [1].

September 2023
Alaa Atamna MD, Evgeny Berkov MD, Genady Drozdinsky MD, Tzippy Shochat MD, Haim Ben Zvi MD, Noa Eliakim-Raz MD, Jihad Bishara MD, Avishay Elis MD

Background: Influenza and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are respiratory diseases with similar modes of transmission. In December 2021, influenza re-emerged after it had been undetected since March 2020 and the Omicron variant replaced the Delta variant. Data directly comparing the two diseases are scarce.

Objectives: To compare the outcomes of patients with both the Omicron variant and influenza during 2021–2022.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study conducted in Beilinson hospital, Israel, from December 2021 to January 2022. We included all hospitalized patients with either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or influenza. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality.

Results: We identified 167 patients diagnosed with Omicron and 221 diagnosed with Influenza A. The median age was 71 years for Omicron and 65 years for influenza. Patients with Omicron had a significantly higher Charlson Comorbidity Index score (4 vs. 3, P < 0.001). Patients with Omicron developed more respiratory failure that needed mechanical ventilation (7% vs. 2%, P = 0.05) and vasopressors (14% vs. 2%, P < 0.001) than patients with influenza. In a multivariate model, 30-day mortality was lower in patients diagnosed with influenza than in patients diagnosed with Omicron (19/221 [9%] vs. 44/167 [26%], hazard ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.25–0.81).

Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with Omicron had higher mortality than patients diagnosed with seasonal influenza. This finding could be due to differences in co-morbidities, the virus pathogenicity, and host responses to infection.

Ljudmila Stojanovich PhD, Natasa Stanisavljevic PhD, Aleksandra Djokovic PhD, Milomir Milanovic PHD, Jovica Saponjski PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Background: Data are scarce on the immunogenicity of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD).

Objectives: To measure the immunoglobulin G (IgG) response after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunization and to evaluate clinical characteristics associated with seropositivity.

Methods: Samples were collected after the second and third doses of the three different types of vaccines in ARD patients. Seroconversion rates and IgG antibody S1/S2 titers were measured.

Results: The type of ARD diagnosis and previous treatment had no significant impact on the serum IgG antibody levels measured after the second (P = 0.489 and P = 0.330, respectively) and boost dose (P = 0.441 and P = 0.446, respectively). What made a significant difference regarding serum IgG antibody levels after the second dose was the type of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The difference was highly statistically significant for all vaccine types (P = 0.001 with the highest odds ratio for the mRNA vaccine). After the boost with the mRNA vaccine, all patients achieved a high level of serum IgG antibody levels (t = 10.31, P = 0.001). No ARD patients experienced serious post-vaccinal reactions. Eight patients developed COVID-19 before the boost dose.

Conclusions: In ARDs patients, the highest level of serum IgG antibody against S1/S2 proteins was achieved with the mRNA vaccine, irrespective of the therapy applied or the type of the disease. We recommend a booster dose with mRNA vaccine in all ARDs for the highest SARS-CoV-2 protection without serious post-vaccinal reactions observed.

Tamar Beck MD, Eyal Aviran MD, Shelly Cohn MD, David Goitein MD

Background: Long-term outcome data for bariatric surgery in patients with severe obesity (SO) (body mass index [BMI] ³ 50 kg/m2) are scarce.

Objectives: To compare perioperative morbidity and long-term outcomes between patients with SO and non-SO (NSO).

Methods: Patients with SO who underwent primary bariatric surgery with a follow-up ³ 5 years were age- and gender-matched with NSO patients in a retrospective, case-control study. Data included demographics, BMI, co-morbidities, early outcomes, current and nadir weight, co-morbidity status, and general satisfaction.

Results: Of 178 patients, 49.4% were male, mean age 44.5 ± 14 years. Mean preoperative BMI was 54.7 ± 3.6 and 41.8 ± 3.8 kg/m2 in SO and NSO, respectively (P = 0.02). Groups were similar in preoperative characteristics. Depression/anxiety was more prevalent in NSO (12.4% vs. 3.4%, P = 0.03). Obstructive sleep apnea was higher in SO (21.3% vs. 10.1%, P = 0.04). Sleeve gastrectomy was performed most often (80.9%), with a tendency toward bypass in SO (P = 0.05). Early complication rates were: 13.5% in SO and 12.4% in NSO (P = 0.82). Mean follow-up was 80.4 ± 13.3 months. BMI reduction was higher in SO (31.8 ± 5.9 vs. 26.8 ± 4.2 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and time to nadir weight was longer (22.1 ± 21.3 vs. 13.0 ± 12.0 months, P = 0.001). Co-morbidity improvement and satisfaction were similar.

Conclusions: Patients with SO benefited from bariatric surgery with reduced BMI and fewer co-morbidities. No added risk of operative complications was found compared to patients with NSO.

Alon Abraham MD, Beatrice Abramovich PhD, Tamar Banon MSc, Clara Weil MSc, Gabriel Chodick PhD, Nurit Birman MD, Yaara Fainmesser MD, Vivian E. Drory MD

Background: There is an unmet need for real-world data regarding laboratory results, co-morbidities, and medication use prior to the first symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Researchers must identify specific subpopulations at risk for developing ALS and understand pathogenic mechanisms preceding the clinical presentation of ALS as well as possible subclinical disease manifestations.

Objectives: To valuate the role of laboratory results, co-morbidities, and medication use prior to the first symptoms of patients with ALS in Israel so that specific subpopulations at risk for developing ALS can be identified and for possible subclinical disease manifestations. To understand pathogenic mechanisms preceding the clinical presentation of ALS.

Methods: At the ALS clinic at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 259 ALS patients insured by Maccabi Healthcare Services and seen between January 1998 and December 2017 were included. Comparisons of demographics, co-morbidities, medications taken, history of trauma, and laboratory tests prior to disease onset were performed between patients and 1295 matched controls.

Results: Prior to disease presentation, ALS patients had a higher frequency of hypertension and cardiovascular disease; presented more frequently with trauma and viral infections; more frequently used analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, antibiotics, and antiviral medications; and had higher creatine kinase levels.

Conclusions: ALS patients showed higher frequency of cardiovascular disease prior to diagnosis, as well as higher frequency of trauma, infections, and pain medication usage.

Adi Hertz MD, Scott Ehrenberg MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain syndrome primarily characterized by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment. Its etiology remains elusive despite ongoing research and has multifactorial elements. It has been shown that traumatic events and neuro-inflammation, autoimmunity, and genetic factors contribute to the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Recent evidence has pointed to a bi-directional link between cardiovascular disease, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and metabolic syndrome (MetS), together with the presence of fibromyalgia [1].

August 2023
Maya Shina MD, Fabio Kusniec MD, Guy Rozen MD MHA, Shemy Carasso MD FESC FASE, David Planer MD, Ronny Alcalai MD, Liza Grosman-Rimon PhD, Gabby Elbaz-Greener MD MHA DRCPSC, Offer Amir MD FACC

Background: Among the most frequent complications following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is hemostasis imbalance that presents either as thromboembolic or bleeding. Deviations in platelet count (PC) and mean platelet volume (MPV) are markers of hemostasis imbalance.

Objectives: To determine the predictive value of pre- and post-procedural PC and MPV fL 1-year all-cause mortality in patients who underwent TAVR.

Methods: In this population-based study, we included 236 TAVR patients treated at the Tzafon Medical Center between 1 June 2015 and 31 August 2018. Routine blood samples for serum PC levels and MPV fL were taken just before the TAVR and 24-hour post-TAVR. We used backward regression models to evaluate the predictive value of PC and MPV in all-cause mortality in TAVR patients.

Results: In this study cohort, MPV levels 24-hour post-TAVR that were greater than the cohort median of 9 fL (interquartile range 8.5–9.8) were the strongest predictor of 1-year mortality (hazard ratio 1.343, 95% confidence interval 1.059–1.703, P-value 0.015). A statistically significant relationship was seen in the unadjusted regression model as well as after the adjustment for clinical variables.

Conclusions: Serum MPV levels fL 24-hour post-procedure were found to be meaningful markers in predicting 1-year all-cause mortality in patients after TAVR.

Elchanan Parnasa MD, Fadi Kharouf MD, Limor Rubin MD

Fever of unknown origin (FUO) is defined as the repeated occurrence of elevated body temperature above 38.3°C (101°F) lasting for at least 3 weeks with no clear diagnosis despite a thorough investigation of more than one-week duration. FUO cases could be categorized into three major etiologies: infectious, neoplastic, and systemic inflammatory. Despite novel diagnostic modalities, clinicians still encounter a significant number of unresolved FUO cases, accounting for as many as 50% of cases [1]. Prolonged futile FUO investigations may be a source of frustration for many clinicians [2]. We described a unique cause for FUO that shares the complexity of the diagnostic workup and emphasizes the importance of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) modality in the process of investigating FUO.

July 2023
Yaron Niv MD AGAF FACG, Michael Kuniavsky RN PhD, Olga Bronshtein RN MSc, Nethanel Goldschmidt MSc, Shuli Hanhart MSc, Alexander Konson RN PhD, Hannah Mahalla BSc

Background: Up to half the patients diagnosed with acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presented with gastrointestinal symptoms. Gastric mucosal cells, enterocytes, and colonocytes express the viral entry receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and coreceptor transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and are prone to infection. Direct infection of gastrointestinal epithelial cells has been demonstrated. COVID-19 disease was first diagnosed in Israel at the end of February 2020 with 842,536 confirmed cases and 6428 deaths by the end of June 2021. In our multicenter, retrospective cohort study, we looked for gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlated them with mortality. Period 1 included the first and second waves and the original virus. Period 2 represented the third wave and the alpha variant.

Objectives: To reveal gastrointestinal signs and symptoms in two periods and correlate them with mortality.

Methods: From 22,302 patients hospitalized in general medical centers, we randomly selected 3582 from Period 1 and 1106 from Period 2. The study was performed before vaccinations were available.

Results: Gastrointestinal signs and symptoms, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and taste/smell loss were significantly more prevalent during Period 1. Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality were significantly higher in Period 2 than in Period 1, 25.20% vs. 13.68%, and 21.17% vs. 12.87%, respectively (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Thirty-day mortality and in-hospital mortality rates were 1.84 and 1.64 times higher from 6 November 2020 to 15 January 2021, the alpha variant, and in negative correlation with gastrointestinal symptoms.

Alexander Ioscovich MD, Dmitry Greenman MD, Ilya Goldin MD, Sorina Grisaru-Granovsky MD PhD, Yaacov Gozal MD, Boris Zukerman MD, Fayez Khatib MD, Aharon Tevet MD

Background: Morbidly adherent placentation (MAP) increases the risk for obstetric hemorrhage. Cesarean hysterectomy is the prevalent perioperative approach. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is a minimally invasive and relatively simple endovascular procedure to temporarily occlude the aorta and control below diaphragm bleeding in trauma. It has been effectively used to reduce obstetric hemorrhage.

Objectives: To evaluate whether REBOA during cesarean delivery (CD) in women with morbidly adherent placentation is a safe and effective treatment modality.

Methods: We introduced REBOA for CD with antepartum diagnosis of MAP in 2019 and compared these patients (RG) to a standard approach group (SAG) treated in our center over the preceding year, as a control. All relevant data were collected from patient electronic files.

Results: Estimated blood loss and transfusion rates were significantly higher in SAG; 54.5% of SAG patients received four RBC units or more vs. one administered in RG. No fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate, or platelets were administered in RG vs. mean 3.63, 6, and 3.62 units, respectively in SAG. Ten SAG patients (90.9%) underwent hysterectomy vs. 3 RG patients (30%). Five SAG patients (45%) required post-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) admission vs. no RG patients. Bladder injury occurred in five SAG cases (45%) vs. 2 RG (20%). One RG patient had a thromboembolic event. Perioperative lactate levels were significantly higher in SAG patients.

Conclusions: Use of REBOA during CD in women with MAP is safe and effective in preventing massive bleeding, reducing the rate of hysterectomy, and improving patient outcome.

Zach Rozenbaum MD, Orly Sapir MD, Yoav Granot MD, Joshua H. Arnold MD MS, Simon Biner MD, Yan Topilsky MD, Michal Laufer-Perl MD

Background: Small left atria (LA) is associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Objectives: To determine whether the attributed risk of mortality is influenced by the underlying etiologies leading to decreased volumes.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated patients with an available LA volume index (LAVI) as measured by echocardiography who came to our institution between 2011 and 2016. Individuals with small LA (LAVI < 16 ml/m2) were included and divided according to the etiology of the small LA (determined or indeterminate) and investigated according to the specific etiology.

Results: The cohort consisted of 288 patients with a mean age of 56 ± 18 years. An etiology for small LA was determined in 84% (n=242). The 1-year mortality rate of the entire cohort was 20.5%. Patients with indeterminate etiology (n=46) demonstrated a lower mortality rate compared with determined etiologies (8.7% vs. 22.7%, P = 0.031). However, following propensity score adjustments for baseline characteristics, there was no significant difference between the groups (P = 0.149). The only specific etiology independently associated with 1-year mortality was the presence of space occupying lesions (odds ratio 3.26, 95% confidence interval 1.02–10.39, P = 0.045).

Conclusions: Small LA serve as a marker for negative outcomes, and even in cases of undetected etiology, the prognosis remains poor. The presence of small LA should alert the physician to a high risk of mortality, regardless of the underlying disease.

Moran Drucker Iarovich MD, Yael Inbar, MD, Sara Apter MD, Eli Konen MD MHA, Eyal Klang MD, Marrianne Michal Amitai MD

Background: Perivascular cuffing as the sole imaging manifestation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an under-recognized entity.

Objectives: To present this rare finding and differentiate it from retroperitoneal fibrosis and vasculitis.

Methods: Patients with abdominal vasculature cuffing were retrospectively collected (January 2011 to September 2017). We evaluated vessels involved, wall thickness, length of involvement and extra-vascular manifestations.

Results: Fourteen patients with perivascular cuffing were retrieved: three with celiac and superior mesenteric artery (SMA) perivascular cuffing as the only manifestation of surgically proven PDAC, seven with abdominal vasculitis, and four with retroperitoneal fibrosis. PDAC patients exhibited perivascular cuffing of either or both celiac and SMA (3/3). Vasculitis patients showed aortitis with or without iliac or SMA cuffing (3/7) or cuffing of either or both celiac and SMA (4/7). Retroperitoneal fibrosis involved the aorta (4/4), common iliac (4/4), and renal arteries (2/4). Hydronephrosis was present in 3/4 of retroperitoneal fibrosis patients. PDAC and vasculitis demonstrated reduced wall thickness in comparison to retroperitoneal fibrosis (PDAC: 1.0 ± 0.2 cm, vasculitis: 1.2 ± 0.5 cm, retroperitoneal fibrosis: 2.4 ± 0.4 cm; P = 0.002). There was no significant difference in length of vascular involvement (PDAC: 6.3 ± 2.1 cm, vasculitis: 7.1 ± 2.6 cm, retroperitoneal fibrosis: 8.7 ± 0.5 cm).

Conclusions: Celiac and SMA perivascular cuffing can be the sole finding in PDAC and may be indistinguishable from vasculitis. This entity may differ from retroperitoneal fibrosis as it spares the aorta, iliac, and renal arteries and demonstrates thinner walls and no hydronephrosis.

Ravit Bassal PhD, Varda Shalev MD, Vered H. Eisenberg MD, Orit Stein-Reisner MD, Eduardo Schejter MD

Background: Depression has been shown to be associated with cervical tumors (CTs), an association mostly demonstrated in studies in which temporality could not have been ascertained.

Objectives: To study the association between depression and CTs and the influence of co-morbidities of this association in a large cohort study.

Methods: A retrospective computer-based cohort study was conducted. The cohort included 357,450 female members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. The cohort was classified as depressed or non-depressed using the International Classification of Diseases 9/10 codes. For each subgroup, demographic characteristics, behavioral characteristics, co-morbidities, and CTs diagnosis were obtained. The burden of co-morbidities was defined as the sum of major co-morbidities. We used zero-inflated negative binomial regression analysis due to over-dispersion to estimate the relative risk (RR) for CTs with 95% confidence interval (95%CI).

Results: Depression was diagnosed in 15,789 women. Among this group, CTs were diagnosed in 1585 (10.0%). Among the 341,661 non-depressed, CTs were diagnosed in 4185 (1.2%). After adjustment to age and socioeconomic status, the association between depression and CTs was RR=9.2 (95%CI 8.7–9.9, P-value < 0.0001). The association between depression and CTs increased as the burden of clinical conditions increased (P-value < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Women with depression are at a higher risk for CTs, especially among those who have several co-morbidities. Tighter gynecology surveillance is crucial among these women.

Maayan Diti Machnes MD, Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Yiska Loewenberg Weisband MD, Moriya Cohen MD, Moshe Hoshen PhD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD

Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS), the predominant bacterial pathogen of pharyngitis, is sometimes difficult to distinguish clinically from viral pharyngitis. Despite the high prevalence of viral pharyngitis in children, antibiotic treatment is common.

Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of an antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) on antibiotic prescription in children with GAS pharyngitis (GAS-P) at a large pediatric community clinic.

Methods: Antibiotic prescription data were collected from October 2016 to March 2017 (pre-intervention period) and from October 2017 to March 2018 (post-intervention period). The intervention was a one-day seminar for primary care pediatricians on the diagnosis and treatment of GAS-P in children according to national guidelines.

Results: The overall prevalence of testing differed between the two time periods. There was a decrease in children who did not undergo any testing (from 68% to 63%), an increase in streptococcal rapid antigen detection testing (28% to 32%), and a slight increase in throat cultures (3% to 4%) (p = 0.02). There was no change in the types of antibiotics prescribed before and after the intervention (p = 0.152).

Conclusions: The ASP resulted in a slight reduction in the percentage of children who did not undergo laboratory testing for GAS-P and a slight reduction in the percentage of children who received antibiotic treatment. The ASP did not reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and macrolides.

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